Constantine Manos. Greece. Athens. Girl on Ermou Street. September 2003.
On documentary vs artistic photography
When discussing the art of photography, and especially documentary photography, one must consider the division between art and documentation, between reportage and aesthetics. Both have value, and while they can be fused, one often diminishes the other: aesthetics tend to cloud the necessary immediacy of journalism, and the frankness of documentary photography often excludes or limits aesthetic considerations. Also, photojournalism often benefits from accumulation, in the sense that a series of photographs broadens one's knowledge. In culling photographs for this project, I've tended to focus on aesthetics and on individual photographs (with a few exceptions), and I don't mean to devalue photojournalism. I think its value is largely self-evident, and I'm exploring something more evasive and intangible. Still, whenever possible I've picked out photographs that act as both document and commentary, that capture something iconic or abstract, and that evoke both emotions and ideas through the perspectives they provide.
(This holds particularly true for Magnum photographers like Manos here and war photographers like Capa, who must strike a balance between documenting what they see -- both as a journalistic and historical document -- and evoking various emotions by their choice of lensing and perspective.)